In 2013, as our own individual emperors, we finally comprehended that we were buck naked on the Web and on our cell phones.
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Not that we didn’t suspect in 2011 and 2012 that our privacy was compromised — that we were a little bit undressed — but in 2013, Edward Snowden put a mirror up that we couldn’t ignore. By revealing that the NSA was spying on both Americans and foreigners, Snowden’s leaks, published by courageous newspapers, The Guardian and the Washington Post, were like a Snapchat nude selfie that doesn’t disappear in 10 seconds.
Of course, other media picked up the Snowden leaks story and we soon saw photos of an outraged German chancellor Angela Merkel, whom, for once, every American identified with. We were as pissed off as she must have been, and we directed our wrath on the NSA, the government, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and our cell phone carriers. How dare they all snoop into our Web browsing and phone calls!
But wait. Everyone told the emperor that his clothes were lovely, and Facebook, Twitter, and Google, et al. told us that all the data they collected was anonymous. They just knew what porn sites your IP address gawked at, what sex-toy Web sites your IP address visited, and exactly where your cell phone was, but didn’t know that it was you.
We now believe that claim as much as those whose insurance was cancelled believe that they can keep their current insurance policies.
Why are we so shocked, shocked that the government, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and our cell phone carriers are lying to us? Don’t we inherently want no terrorist attacks and a free Internet lunch? We deluded ourselves. We believed that fighting terrorism is not messy, that Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other Web sites and functionality should be free.
But there is no truly free lunch. If you want a free ham sandwich, you have to buy a beer. If you want free Google Gmail, you have to have an ad served (but you don’t have to look at it). And, you’ll be thrilled to learn, it’s going to get less private on the Web and on your phone.
Programmatic digital media buying and selling is increasing faster than anyone imagined even two years ago. By the end of 2015, over half (or more) of all online ads will be bought and sold programmatically, which means advertisers who buy digital ads will know more about you than your mother, father, or lover.
Mobile phone advertisers will know where you are, and will be able to serve ads to you for discounts or special deals in stores as you’re walking past them. Last week a company announced it had developed face-recognition software for Google Glass, but Google announced it wouldn’t allow it on Google Glass – for now.
So, to live in a modern world, in 2014, you have to realize that on the Web, you have no privacy, that you’re buck naked in a sense. So, suck it up.
Happy New Year!
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